Ted Stein

Posted by Ellen

The revolutions of 2011 in the Arab world have been televised all over the planet. Here in Philadelphia, I could sit on my sofa and watch in real time as hundreds of thousands of people assembled in Tahrir Square in Cairo, people who have been shut out of political life for generations, even centuries, yet who somehow knew just where to go to alert the world to their cause, and when to go there, and what to say and how to say it

The choreography behind those demonstrations, it soon became evident, was digital: tweets and texts and emails and Facebook updates.  Is new media creating a new world order? Researchers struggled to collect the tweets and analyze them semantically, in hopes of more closely apprehending the social and intellectual underpinnings of the Arab revolutions. All that was missing was an app.

Tweets, it turns out, aren't all that easy to assemble for analysis. By design, they aren't available after seven days. To do the job properly requires software optimized for twitter mining; it has to scan the twitter universe constantly in search of tweets sent to or from certain users and/or containing certain hashtags or vocabulary; the tweets identified in this way then have to be archived in a searchable database.

Ted at Inner File Software was the twitter miner of the hour. He sat down at his machine and went to work on building the world a better twitter miner. The open-source software he designed, which runs in conjunction with Drupal, a web content management system to which Ted is a contributor, is only a couple of weeks old but has already extracted and stored more than a million tweets.

Best of all, he notes: "No digital canaries were harmed in the making of this twitter mine."

I wouldn't be much of a mother, would I, if I didn't suggest that you go on ahead and check out the company Ted is building around this fantastical new tool for twitter data mining and semantic analysis? Also, the open source twitter miner project.

Posted by Ellen

All five Stein brothers in an elevator, on the first day of 2010.

From left to right:   #3, #1, #4, #5, #2   (1981, 1978, 1988, 1992, 1979).

Posted by Ellen

With apologies to those among you who have been on this list since 2007, I am repeating here one of my favorite baby pictures, taken almost 30 years ago. As you can see, John got distracted, and Ted made his move.

The prize clutched in John's little fist must have been something really special, so tasty and/or entertaining that it would be coveted even by a six-month-old baby. Such as a nice little pebble or twig or clod of dirt.

I like this picture because it suggests something of the tone of brotherly, um, love among the boys as the family grew.  Even much, much later, whenever one of the boys would come home from college, odds were high he'd take a few minutes to go through his brothers' stuff and perhaps make off with a little something that wasn't being actively protected. Always, there was a stupid rationale--for example: "But it fits me better than it fits him."
 

Posted by Ellen

The rocks are 400 million years old, give or take.

The photo is five years old.

The occasion was the birthday gathering on Peaks Island in Maine in honor of Bob Horowitz--my father, and the grandfather of these fellows--who was then 80 years old.

There's one obvious constant through all these years: some of us hominids are hard-wired to build forts and weapons and stuff out of rocks or whatever is close to hand.

Not as obvious, perhaps, but just as constant: some of us are hard-wired to knock down other people's forts and stuff. Hank recalls that he had to rebuild this whole structure all by himself. Had to.

My father will be 85 this next week. He's well beyond the stone age; most days, he aims for the Big Band era.

Left to right: Brothers Ted, Hank, Allen, and Joe Stein, with cousin Nick Horowitz.

Posted by Ellen

A single picture doesn't tell the whole story, but it looks like it was a pretty good party. And although Ted has cut his hair since then, I'm guessing he can still dance.

Posted by Ellen

This photo is ten years old now. Since then our five boys have rarely shown up in the same time zone, much less the same picture frame--this is an important document in family history.

The original negative is gone; there may be some high-resolution prints around somewhere, but I'm not sure where. What I've got on my computer is a scratched, speckled, and stained scan comprising just a handful of pixels.

This gussied-up version is only arguably better than the straight scan. Whatever: from left, in order of age, that's John, Ted, Joe, Allen, and Hank.